Namaste from Goa, where I am currently on Day Three of my stay – I’m loving being back and I’m also enjoying weather which is approximately 30 degrees (C) warmer than in London. I mentioned last month that this was my snowy outlook in early January; well, fast forward a month or so and here’s my view today:
(Yes, I know that “cows on the beach” are something of a cliché in India, but I do think that the little calf is very cute).
I’m staying in a local guest house just behind the beach, and I’ve negotiated a deal with the Goan Portuguese owner that I will help him write copy for his forthcoming website in return for unlimited access to his wireless internet – so I’m currently holed up in a corner of his bar/restaurant area, typing away, feeling hot (because my laptop is plugged in where the fan normally resides) and ignoring the curious looks from passersby.
When I first sat down and booted up, I was surrounded by six waiters, all unabashedly staring at my screen and asking me why I wasn’t sunbathing (“You are on holiday, madam! Not working!”). After trying and failing to explain “blogging”, I reached for my Hindi dictionary and announced that I am a “patrakar” [journalist] which they seemed to get (“newspaper, yes?”) and now they’re leaving me to it, just popping over occasionally to ask if I’d like a fresh lime soda.
My post about Renuka, the little girl I sponsor here in Goa, received a huge amount of hits and comments, both on and offline, the most usual one being “can you tell me more about how I can sponsor a child?” . In response, I’d like to direct you to a couple of websites.
The first one is for the El Shaddai Child Rescue charity – this is a local Goan charity which I’ve supported for a good few years and which now has an option to sponsor a child. Just follow this link and you can see details of the children (both girls and boys) and filter them by age. I notice that the sponsorship model has changed a little since I signed up, so you can now opt to make a one off donation to a specific child too, or purchase a particular item (school books, a cow, a bicycle, care for an HIV+ child) through the “Gift a Smile” option.
Obviously, El Shaddai operates in India, a country very dear to my heart for many years, hence choosing to sponsor a child here. If you’d like to consider helping children in other countries, then I’d suggest you check out Plan, described on their website as:
“ … one of the largest child-centred community development organisations in the world, helping children and their families in 48 of the poorest countries to break the cycle of poverty”.
I raised over £300 for Plan’s “Because I Am a Girl” campaign last October and I’ve also blogged about their recently published book, so hands up – I’m a fan, and the only reason that I haven’t yet sponsored a child via Plan too is due to my current “sabbatical” – but I’ll be on board as soon as I’m working again. The link is here and you can choose the region in which you’d like to support a child – Asia, Africa, Latin America, etc, or allow Plan to choose for you dependent upon need.
Oh, and – while I’m writing about Plan, there are some photos of the recent book launch event for “Because I Am a Girl” up here on their Flickr site, complete with one of the back of my head.
Mentioning heads – a gentleman has just walked by, balancing a tower of cushions on his head. I don’t think I’m in Kansas anymore, but I am going to quit now before the usual “this time of day” Indian power cut kicks in.